Once you decide to divorce, don't assume that you'll face off against your spouse in a family law court. While litigation is necessary at times, you'll first want to experiment with mediation.
Through mediation, you maintain a high level of control over the process. Rather than rely on a judge to make final decisions, you can negotiate with the other party to work toward a mutually beneficial agreement.
Generally speaking, divorce mediation consists of several sessions during which you meet with a mediator and the other individual in an attempt to move the process forward. Here's a basic idea of what to expect:
- First meeting: This is your time lay out all the issues that need to be discussed and resolved. Don't hesitate to share exactly what's on your mind, as you want the mediator to have a clear picture of your situation. Hiding something until later will only complicate things.
- Additional meetings: Once the first meeting is out of the way, you'll partake in follow-up meetings during which time you negotiate on matters such as property division and child custody. These sessions typically last anywhere from one to two hours.
- Final agreement: Upon reaching a resolution on all issues, the mediator can draft an agreement for review by you and your legal team.
Don't assume that divorce mediation has no chance of working because you and your spouse are at odds. Even if you're not on speaking terms, you can still use this process to your advantage.
When you understand how mediation works and your legal rights, you're in a better position to make the most of it.